Clementine Hunter

Biography: A primitive painter from the Cane River area of Louisiana, Clementine Hunter has given the world a unique record of Black plantation life in the South. Although Mrs. Hunter was unable to read or write, her paintings of weddings, funerals, cottonpicking, pecan harvests, and washdays stand as witness to a rural culture which is vanishing from the American landscape. Born into a Creole family on a plantation in Louisiana, she was sent to a Catholic school, but soon left to pick cotton and work in the fields. As a young girl she moved to Melrose Plantation and after many years of working outside, was brought into the “Big House” to serve as a maid and cook. In the early 1940s she began experimenting with some paints and brushes left at the house by an artist from New Orleans. Painting on anything she could find–cardboard, paper bags, and sometimes canvasses–Mrs. Hunter soon caught the attention of artists visiting the plantation. Her first public showing in Louisiana was at the New Orleans Arts and Crafts Gallery in 1949. Her paintings have been exhibited in many museums and galleries, including the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Anderson-Hopkins Gallery and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 1979 the Division of Arts of the state of Louisiana commissioned a painting depicting life on a plantation at harvest time. “Louisiana Harvest” now hangs in the state capitol building in Baton Rouge. Description: The Black Women Oral History Project interviewed 72 African American women between 1976 and 1981. With support from the Schlesinger Library, the project recorded a cross section of women who had made significant contributions to American society during the first half of the 20th century. Photograph taken by Judith Sedwick Repository: Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. Collection: Black Women Oral History Project Research Guide: guides.library.harvard.edu/schlesinger_bwohp (Source)

Clementine Hunter (pronounced Clementeen) (late December 1886 or early January 1887 – January 1, 1988) was a self-taught Black folk artist from the Cane River region of Louisiana, who lived and worked on Melrose Plantation.

Hunter was born into a Louisiana Creole family at Hidden Hill Plantation near Cloutierville, in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. She started working as a farm laborer when young, and never learned to read or write. In her fifties, she began to sell her paintings, which soon gained local and national attention for their complexity in depicting Black Southern life in the early 20th century.

Initially she sold her first paintings for as little as 25 cents. But by the end of her life, her work was being exhibited in museums and sold by dealers for thousands of dollars. Clementine Hunter produced an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 paintings in her lifetime.[1] Hunter was granted an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 1986, and she is the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at the present-day New Orleans Museum of Art. In 2013, director Robert Wilson presented a new opera about her, entitled Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter, at Montclair State University in New Jersey. (Source)

Volker

I am Volker Schunck and live in Dresden, Germany. First I was an industrial clerk, then I studied theology. Through my engagement with Zen, I became aware of the Christian mysticism. Meanwhile, I go my own way. For me, faith is not a world-view but a being. It is important to me, not to live lost in thought but aware and intensely. For me, this also includes careful handling of other people. The NVC (Nonviolent Communication), which I learned during my training as a mediator, helps me with this.

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